Creative ideas / help needed...


Master Member
OK, guys. This is not really a prop-related question, but a "movie collectibles" question where I can use the help / ideas of the great craftsmen on this forum.

This is the case: besides movie props, I also collect the large-scale (18 inch) action figures from NECA (and McFarlane, but they stopped producing this size). Most of the figures are on a shelf, but once in a while, a figure decides to jump of the shelf, sometimes damaging itself.

I'm looking for a solution to keep my figures stable on the shelf. Any ideas are welcome. Things that already popped my mind:
1. Double sided tape under their feet => Not strong enough for some figures.
2. A screw in the wall behind them, and tie them to that screw with fishing thread => I have to damage the wall.
3. Doll stands for big dolls => These are pretty light and when a havier figure falls down, it just takes the stand with them.

So I'm now looking to make my own, heavier stands, but don't really know where to start. I'd like it If I can base my stand on an (cheap) existing "thing" (like some kind of holder from IKEA or something), instead of making it from scratch.

Do you guys have some ideas on how to tackle this? Maybe some of you also collect / have some of these figures and face the same problems? Any input is more than welcome!

P.S. To the mods: If this post is inappropriate here, please feel free to move it to the off-topic section. I didn't know which of both to choose...
Have you tried the outdoor heavyduty double sided tape that is at Homedepot and Lowes? That stuff is amazingly strong.

Another idea I was thinking, was putting a thin sheet of acrylic across the front of your shelves, so if they fall, they can't fall "off"... no more suicide jumps for them! Not sure if you would even want to do that though.
Thanks for the reply Chris. Yeah, I used heavy duty tape once and it worked fine, but after a few months it loosened up, and the figure tubled over...

What I'm thinking of now is securing the feet of the figures on a base with black metal wire. I'm thinking of buying a few black frisbees, make some holes in them where the feet of the figures are, and use wire to tie the feet to the frisbee. This way I'd have a nice round black base where the figure is attached too.
What sort of tools do you have to work with? If you could cut a piece of peg board or perforated aluminum sheet to the shape of the shelf the figures occupy, you could wire all their feet to one plate. A shared base would be less likely to tip over than individual bases, and you'd be able to stand the figures closer together if you liked.

You might also want to get some small inner diameter clear plastic hose (the local big box hardware stores should carry it) to pad the wire where it comes into contact with the figures' feet. That will let you wire them down tightly without worrying about the wire leaving ligature marks on your figures.
I have the same problems with my neca 18 inchers. my damn robocop will always fall regardless how stable he appears to be. its like the legs give in and he just tumbles. What you could do is maybe glue their feet to an acrylic base and give the support? the downside is that there glued down :-(
Hey Shendorion, you have some great ideas there! Never considered the peg board! That could work fine and indeed it would make a more stable base. On the other side: rearranging your figures will be a hassle, since you have to loose them up and fasten them down again...

The little hose to protect the feet is a great tip! Never thought about that. Thanks!

For now, i'm going to try the frisbee, just to see if it's stable. I'll post my results here... ;)
You could imbed small rear earthe magnets into the feet of your figures and attach sheet metal to the top of your shelf / pedastal.
That's a real creative idea ;). But then you would have to "damage" the figures. They'll loose collectible value...
One thing I have used to keep things where they should be on shelves is called Museum Putty - it's literally what museums use in some display cases. It's white, soft like playdoh but tacky. Should come off whenever needed with no damage, but check first as I don't remember all the specifics.
I wonder if you could use some of that putty that they make for hanging posters on the wall.

It doesn't leave any adhesive residue and if you use a blob per foot that might hold them down

Moving them would be easy too. Just peel it off and reapply where needed
Any type of sticky stuff on the feet will not work. If the piece falls, the leverage will overpower the sticky.

Take a pic of your shelf and I can get a better idea of what you have to work with.

You could sculpt some bases and then cast them in resin. That's what I did with my son for his Halo figures which were doing the same thing. It was also a great way to delve into molding.

We just made a clay base then pressed the Halo figures feet into them and molded it. We also made it a shape that would fit together side by side with the next base. If I did it again I would make the clay thicker and push the feet deeper to give it a better grip.

A lot of the bases are made from left over resin when we cast other things. He has dozens and dozens of the Halo figures.

Forgot to add that my thought is you could make some kind of generic stand for the figures. Not mold and cast an individual design for each one, unless that tickles your fancy and you cast in plaster as a cheaper alternative.
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3M Command Strips--Command is the operative word here--the ones you can "command" to come off the wall clean......Command Strips, not just any kind of 3M hangers and such.
I've used them a lot and have never had them leave a stain or residue....
but you should, of course, test first on your own stuff.
They come in lots of different varieties and sizes.

Could be use instead of double sided tape--stronger and will last until released.
1. Double sided tape under their feet => Not strong enough for some figures.

Could be used instead of a screw in the wall, to tie the line to.....
2. A screw in the wall behind them, and tie them to that screw with fishing thread => I have to damage the wall.

If you do put the dolls on some kind of stand, could be used to hold the stands on the shelf or for this kind of stand, use the 3M hook to tie the doll stands to the wall......
3. Doll stands for big dolls => These are pretty light and when a havier figure falls down, it just takes the stand with them.

Museum Putty(clear)
and Museum Gel(clear) are great, too and what a lot of antique dealers use. There is also a product Wax Adhesive used mostly for miniatures, it might not be strong enough to hold down your larger figures, but it is great for holding accessories in position.

Anything you think of using, you should test first, and if it can't be found in the product's literature or online the pros and cons, I'd pester the manufacture for specifics before subjecting anything valuable to any method.

Thanks for all the feedback! I did try putty (not the museum putty) and that worked, but I was afraid that it would loosen too, after a few weeks / months, just like the double sided tape.

These 18 inch figures are pretty heavy, so as franz bolo said: I'm afraid that sticky things won't be strong enought to put up to the leverage once a figure tips over. I'm still conviced that going for a "tie them to an enlarged base" kind of solution would be the most secure. For now, I'm going for an individual base for each figure, not for a common base for all figures... If I have more news, I'll post it...
Like others have said, i would try rare earth magnets. If you didn't want to adhere them to the feet or affect collectible value, you could slip some heat-shrink tubing over the feet, with the magnets in there, and then gently and carefully use a blowdrier to secure.

Then, you'd be able to make a custom base incorporating some metal for the magnets to stick to, and balance out the figures so they aren't tipped forwards on their heels or look weird, depending on how big you've made the magnets.
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